Art Therapy is a field that became popularized in the United States in the 1940s, though certainly art has been a medium for communication and individual and collective meaning making for centuries. Our modern practice of art therapy is utilized in working with all ages, and can be found in schools, hospitals, nursing homes and senior living centers, shelters, jails and any other facility where health, healing and rehabilitation is a priority.
Through working with art media such as drawing, paint, clay, natural materials, fabric, other sculptural and mixed media tools, and poetry we give voice to our inner world. Through the art process we build awareness, problem solve, reflect, imagine, organize, empathize and connect with our own experience and that of others.
Art is particularly equipped to support in the integration of emotionally charged material because it is a non-verbal, kinesthetic, symbolic and sensory opportunity for sharing ones self. Sharing, not only to the therapist, but mirroring back to oneself ones own experience for further reflection, understanding and ultimately transformation. So many of our experiences, especially when they are painful or transcendent, are challenging to verbalize. Art moves in with stunning accuracy to give voice to that which has remained voiceless.
Making art is good for our brains! Art is a bi-lateral integrating activity, which bridges left and right hemispheres of the brain supporting emotional integration, learning and growth.
Art is a language of the soul. It can be a way for the deepest part of ourselves, our longing, gifts, wisdom and truth to be seen. Creating art can become a ritual of prayer, a process and practice of receiving guidance, a meditation, and a way to feel connected and trusting of our life unfolding in relationship with the Universe.
Art is a form of sacred storytelling. Through the art we give form to the story that is ready to be told, and can begin to honor the parts of ourselves and memories that long to be seen, heard and valued. This has significant therapeutic value as we release layers of shame and become more honest, open and loving of who have been, who we are, and who we are becoming.